Worst flooding in 40 years hits Mon State, hundreds evacuated

Photo A man wades through a flooded street in Mawlamyine, Mon State, on Sunday. A landslide was also experienced on a mountain in the centre of the state capital. Photo - Khan Ti

​18 June 18Hundreds of people were forced to flee their homes on Sunday after floods swept Mawlamyine and other townships in Mon State after hours of heavy rain, government officials and rescuers said.

The flood occurred before dawn in Mawlamyine, and a landslide was also reported on Ngawuntha mountain in the centre of the township. 

"It's the first time that I experience floods in Mawlamyine in over 40 years. Normally some quarters in Mawlamyine flood when the tide rises in the Thanlwin River but this time was not only about tide but also heavy rain, the drains in town are overflowing," said Thein Hla, a resident of Mawlamyine.

His house was submerged in the flood and his family moved to safety, he added. 

A landslide at the centre of Mawlamyine on Sunday. Photo - Khan Ti

 The wall in front of Kyaiktalan pagoda on Ngawuntha mountain, suddenly broke due to heavy rain and the road near the pagoda was blocked with the broken well, which worsened the flood. The new elevator of the pagoda is near the broken well and people who live there were afraid of a landslide, said Daw Aye Aye Tun, who lives near the mountain.

The Mon State government called an emergency Cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss the flooding. They mapped out a rescue plan for people affected by the flood, said the government office.

"The state government has directed administrative offices, rescue organisations and the chief of fire station to list the number of people affected by the flood and to fulfill their basic needs," said Major Win Naing Oo, state minister of Security and Border Affairs.

People wade along a street in Mawlamyine on Sunday. Photo - Khan Ti

Aung Naing Oo, vice president of the state hluttaw, was among those leading the rescue missions in Mawlamyine. They helped people from Myaing Thayar which was among the areas worst hit by the flood, said Bo Bo Win, spokesperson of the Mawlamyine rescue organisation.

"There are over 1000 people already moved to safety. They are being supported by civil society organisations and donors. Government support has not yet come. Food, clothes and other emergency relief goods are much needed, he said.

The Mon chief minister and senior officials had inspected the flooded areas and are coordinating with the union government for emergency assistance.

The dams near Mawlamyine township are in the good conditions despite the flood and rain, said U Htun Htay, minister of Agriculture. 

An old man wades through the Mawlamyine flood. Photo - Khan Ti

The rain fall rate was 13.7 inches in Mawlamyine, 11.69 inches in Mudon, 6.22 inches in Thanphyuzayat and 11.89 inches in Chaung Zone township, he said.

The flood was exacerbated by the failure of the government to fix the drainage system in the city, he added.

Union Minister of Social Welfare and Relief and Resettlement U Win Myat Aye was coming from Nay Pyi Taw to check the flooded area, he added.

"I hope we will cover all conditions soon," he said.

Most areas in Mawlamyine are flooded, such as Thiri Mingalar, Thiri Myaing, Kyauk Tan, Zayar Thiri and Thaya Aye.

Thanlwin Bridge leading to the town was shut due to flooding on both sides of the bridge.

At least 16 people have been killed or are missing in the strong monsoon that has pummeled the country for over a week. Disaster relief officials have warned people living near the coasts or river banks as well as on hillsides to be alert for storm surges, flash floods and landslides. 

​Source: Myanmar Times

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